At the inauspicious hour of 4a, when most people of the same time zone are rightfully indulging their zzzz's, and most nocturnal creatures even are likely wishing to do the same..., thus began the long trek to Hopi Indian country. The trip's mission was to help the folk of this reserved territory reduce the stray animal population by enlisting veterinarians far and wide to donate time and surgical skills for castration and medical services. This engagement required cooperation and planning on numerous levels, as well as the good will of the Hopi Indians themselves to accommodate our desires to offer assistance in this endeavor. For my part, the blessings of my wife to care for our two young, highly spirited daughters alone for another several days, and my wonderful associates' willingness to cover my shifts at the hospital, were prerequisites. Apparently the trip was destiny, because even Dr William Epple was gently coerced from retirement to help cover day practice!
And so it was that I found myself on United flight 650 to Phoenix, Arizona, on April 7, along with the trip's organizer, Dr Suzanne Smith of Spring Mills Veterinary Hospital, in what would be a long day of travel to reach our final destination of Keam's Canyon, Arizona, where the Hopi tribe resides on 1.5 million acres of land as one of America's oldest cultures, and where their cultural heritage is still preserved.
What ensued was an exhausting, but highly rewarding, experience where veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and our two wonderful veterinary students collaborated to spay, neuter, vaccinate, and treat more than 100 Hopi owned dogs and cats from April 8-10. The following are some images from the trip. Many thanks to the Hopi Indian tribe for bringing taking excellent care of their pets, and to the many volunteers who made this trip possible!